Posts Tagged ‘ubuntu’

Video on the Web, Linux lags in some areas (or maybe not)

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

I use Ubuntu Linux on my primary laptop, and on several other computers. Half our office now uses Ubuntu, the other half uses MaxOSX as the primary operating system. For many things, I think Ubuntu is now as good or better than anything available in Windows or MacOSX. In other areas, Linux is good enough. One area where Linux seemed to lag is for video. Netflix, rapidly becoming a must have service, does not stream to Linux at all. This is a significant issue for Linux users living in the US, where Netflix streaming is available.

When I first tried Hulu, it worked on Linux, but not as well as it does on Windows. But there was a reason, and I could fix it. (more…)

Dual boot Acer Aspire 5516, Vista and Ubuntu 9.04

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

This week I purchased an Acer laptop from Micro Center for $299. The model was: Aspire 5516-5474. It came with an ATI video chip set (ATI Radeon Xpress 1200), a 160 gig hard drive, an 8x DVD, an SD reader, 2 gigs of RAM, a 15.6 inch LDC Monitor (16:9 1366×768), and an AMD Athion 64 processor (the TF-20). The installed software was Microsoft Vista, home basic. I installed Ubuntu 9.04* to dual boot. It worked without any problems. (more…)

Google’s Chrome, in Ubuntu 9.04

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

Although it is described as an unstable release, I have found Google’s test version of the Linux version of the Chrome Brower to work pretty well, subject to limitations described below. I use Ubuntu 9.04, and installed the .deb files from Google’s web page for the early access release.

It took me a while to find the bookmarks (toggle using control-b), but I like the cleaner look with more screen that this approach provides. One issue for me will be that Zotero does not install on anything but Firefox.

On the down side, flash does not yet work, the plug-ins are not yet implemented, and a lot of forms on web pages don’t seem to work yet. So, it’s not finished.

Dual boot Windows and Ubuntu, Dell m1530, issue with Sata drive and AHCI mode

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

Some time ago, I bought a Dell m1530, with Linux Ubuntu 8.04 pre-installed. I have since moved on and installed a few upgrades of Ubuntu. I am currently using Ubuntu 9.04, which I like very much. But I wanted to make the machine a dual boot with Windows, so I could also do a few things that Linux can’t do yet.

Yesterday and today I spent a huge amount of time trying to understand why Windows would not see my hard drive. I assumed this was a result of the Linux boot loader changing the Master Book Record (MBR), and I spend hours trying different ways of addressing this. But that was not in fact the issue. Instead, the problem was due to the hardware settings, and specially the fact that my SATA hard drive was set to use something called AHCI mode. As described in this blog post on the topic, older versions of Windows don’t have drivers that support AHCI. (more…)

Fixing a missing Gnome top panel, in Ubuntu 9.04, Jaunty Jackalope

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

This morning, when trying to remove a duplicate icon from the Gnome panel on the top of my screen, I deleted the whole top panel, by mistake. It is not obvious how this is fixed. Like most Ubuntu users, I looked at some forums. Even with the top panel missing, you can bring up the applications menu from Alt-F1, or run a command from Alt-F2. I started up Firefox, and found a solution offered by Harvey Muller, who, in helping someone else with the same problem, deleted his top panel to see how to fix it. His solution, which worked fine for me, is here: (more…)

Tweetdeck, for Linux

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Today I installed a Linux version of tweetdeck, specifically for a Ubuntu 8.10 version of Linux. First step was to install Adobe Air: Adobe knew I wanted a Linux version, and downloaded the install program to my computer. (more…)

Ubuntu 9.04, beta, on Dell XPS M1530

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

I just installed Ubuntu 9.04, beta, on a Dell M1530. The install program asked if I wanted a dual boot configuration with the older 8.10 version, and I said yes. That resulted in a longer install, but it worked fine. Then I was asked if I wanted to migrate my data settings from the older partition. This was a nice option, but since I didn’t have much on the older partition, I couldn’t evaluate how well it works.

I did notice right away the cursor worked fine, without having to tweak the grub loading commands, as was necessary for the m1530 for Ubuntu 8.10. Open Office 3.0 is also supported, which is a good reason to consider upgrading when the final version is ready.

I turned on the “partner” repositories, and installed the “Ubuntu restricted-extras” packages, which I highly recommend.

I next went to, and followed the directions for adding the medibuntu repositories.

I installed Cheese to see if the webcam worked, and it did, without any problems. More important for me, I used the Synaptic Package Manager, to install Skype, which I tested with a USB Logitech headset and also a USB VOIP phone. Skype recognized and used both devices without any problems. The voice quality from the USB Logitech headset was particularly good, which show shows the value of a good microphone. It also found and worked well with the m1530 webcam. The built-in webcam seems to work quite a bit better with skype than with cheese.

So far, the beta version looks pretty polished, and it works better on this machine than did final 8.04 or 8.10 releases.

The Dell XPS m1530 is in some ways a nicely designed machine. Mine has a very high resolution screen 15.4 inch screen, 1920 x 1200 (16:10), and a fast NVIDIA video card. It has a fingerprint reader you can configure for log-in, an SD/MMC (8 in 1 they claim) memory card reader, built in web cam and microphone, bluetooth and lots of I/O, including HMDI and S-Video for video. It is also pretty light, and has a decent keyboard.

Despite all of this, right now I am using my older Dell 1420n, which is heavier, and has a smaller, but still pretty decent screen. The reason I switched back was that when using Ubuntu 8.10, the m1530 was not as dependable as the 1420n when I used suspend. And even more important, the battery life for the m1530 has been terrible for me, and this is a big deal when I travel.

If I can resolve the battery issue, I would probably switch back to the XPS m1530. But for now, I am more comfortable using the older laptop.


Saturday, March 28th, 2009

I can’t say much for the name, and the appearance isn’t great, but Twitux seems like a serviceable Twitter client for Gnome based Linux distribution. I have found Twibble for Blackberry to work fine.

Skype with Ubuntu and Dell 1420n

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

Like many others, I have had considerable difficulty getting the internal microphone to work, or even one that uses the front microphone jack, on a Dell Inspiron 1420n, currently using Ubuntu 8.10. I found, however, that USB microphones seem to work quite well. A Logitech USB Headset worked fine, as did an older USB VOIP phone I had laying around, both with quite good sound quality.